Healthcare Issues for Children
Access to high quality health care is very important for physical and mental development of a child. The availability of good health care for children has the effect of preventing illness and injury, controls the spreading of diseases, and enhances their current and future health (Lewis & Doshi 2007). Children from developing nations face more health challenges than their counterpart from the developed nations. Poverty is one of the challenges facing the health of children. People from developed countries earn higher incomes than people from developing nations; this makes them afford health care for their children.
Children from developing nations become ill and die when they are young because they cannot afford health care. Nonetheless, globally there have been greater gains in children health for the last fifty years. This is attributed to the improvements in nutrition, income, and education. The threats to the health of children are well known and solutions to them are affordable but many governments lack the capacity to effectively implement the policies and programs that intend to solve the prevailing health issues.
Violence and injuries on children is quite significant and increasing with time. Many children have lost their lives and others rendered disable because of it. It is estimated that 89% of the death of children who are less than 15 years is as a result of accidental causes (World Health Organization, ndb). Children are vulnerable to alcohol, drug abuse, depression, and other unwarranted behaviors because of child abuse which is increasingly impacting the world. Violence on children is more prevalent in the low and middle income nations than in the high income nations. However, this public health problem that is negatively affecting the world can be avoided.
High income nations have managed to reduce child-injury death and child mistreatment through using both prevention and care methods. A significant reduction in death and morbidity can be achieved by reducing to the lower levels the rates of violence and injury in the low and middle income nations. This necessitates the use of realistic prevention methods such as promotion of home and transport safety, implementation and enforcement of safety legislation, and improvement of the care and rehabilitation of the children that are injured. There can be significant reduction in child mistreatment and violence when programs that support safety, sustainability, and cultivation of good relationships between children and their parents or caregivers are initiated.
2.2 Infectious diseases
Children are very vulnerable to infectious diseases which account for more than half of childrens death worldwide (US Coalition for Child Survival). Deadly infectious diseases that have increasingly claimed lives of many children in the world include: tuberculosis, HIV/AID, diarrhea and malaria. Infectious diseases affect more children living in the developing nations than in the developed nations this is because the former spend less on the health care of her population. The developing nations cities are highly populated and are characterized by unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation and wide spread poverty which create a good breeding ground for outbreak of diseases. Children living in these deprived cities have little chance of getting immunized against the known deadly diseases and their parents hardly have enough money to afford for the health care in case they get sick (US Coalition for Child Survival). This situation poses a greater problem because diseases that were once manageable can gain more strength and thus, become re-established.
Nonetheless, the world health organization (WHO) have mobilized partners and developed policies that are intended to prevent and put under control the deadly infectious diseases. The world health organization is in the process of establishing warning systems that alert nations on the new and unanticipated diseases. This system needs to be implemented soon to curb increasing levels of drug resistance and emergence of new strain of bacteria.
Children are among the people that are living in poverty and this has denied them their much needed rights. Poverty has the ability to weaken the protective environment of a child. Widespread poverty in children is brought about by their abuse and exploitation. Poverty exposes the children to weaknesses, malnutrition, and physical and mental impairment. It drains childrens energy and makes them lose confidence. Poverty is passed on from one generation to another and women living in poverty and are malnourished give birth to babies who are under weight. The possibility of these babies surviving is low for most them die and if they survive they hardly develop to reach their full potential (Lewis & Doshi 2007).
Poverty affects childrens performance and this means that children living in poverty have the likely chance of dropping out of school at early age. These children will continue the cycle of poverty for they will get jobs that make them live below the poverty line. To break the cycle of poverty, there is for the stakeholders like governments, civil society, and families to invest heavily in the rights and wellbeing of the children as well as in the rights of women. Channeling resources to children is something that is right to do for governments for it is an investment that has high rates of return.
Children around the world are severely hit by inadequate goods and services. The big portion of the children comes from the developing nations. Over one billion children in this world hardly get access to at least one of the vital goods and services that are imperative for their survival, growth, and development (National Institute of Health, n.d). Food and health experts define hunger as the continuous deprivation in an individual the food that he needs to support his healthy life. The death of children as a result of hunger is far greater than atomic bomb for it deprives a country its future.
Effects of hunger on children are found to commence during the period of pregnancy when the mother is having poor nutrition. If this situation continues during infancy and childhood it will affect development and health of a child. Food provision is very important for children for it gives them the building blocks necessary to attain full potential. Children coming from families suffering from malnutrition and hunger hardly get the interaction needed for development of language and speech. Children who are hungry have weak immune system which makes it hard to fight off diseases.
The quality of environment is regarded as one of the important factors that determine the survival of a child in the early years of his life. Environment has great impact on the children for it influences their physical and mental developments. Children are quite vulnerable to environment because of various factors such as their physical size, under developed organs, behavior, and inadequate knowledge. It is estimated that more than a quarter of the total global burden of disease and more than 35% of Africa is as a result of negative environmental factors (Lewis & Doshi 2007). These negative environmental factors include air pollution, dirty drinking water, poor sanitation, and insect-transmitted diseases. These affect the health of the most vulnerable people such as children and the elderly. More than three million children under the age of five lose their lives yearly because of the environmental related diseases (Lewis & Doshi 2007). Undertaking taking prevention methods is the only way forward for the health of the children depends to a large extent on our efforts of safeguarding the environment we are living in.
Children coming from low income parents have low academic achievements. The parents lack enough money to educate the children making them to drop out from school at early age. It is hard for children affected by poverty to perform well in school. The future of children depends on health for good health ensures good performance in school and guarantees them jobs that pay them well. Education opens their eyes regarding keeping themselves health and this will help them when they get into adult and become parents. Children born from parents that are educated are more health than those coming from less educated parents. To improve education and health of children and youth there is need for a nation to invest on school health programs that are cost effective (World Health Organization, n.da). These strategic programs have the effect of preventing health risks on the youth and help in changing the social, economic, educational, and political conditions of the education sector.
2.7 Access to care
Children are facing hurdles in accessing better health care. These barriers have prevented children from accessing care and resulted to the creation of disparities. The disparities regarding the survival of children occur not because of the non existence of technological solutions but as a result of poor children inability to access cost-effective child health interventions (UNICEF, n.d). Children in our society take a submissive role compared with the elders and this imbalance makes children to be overpowered by their parents and relatives. This means that children are positioned at the bottom in the social structure of the family that has limited resources. Children will be given last priority while others will get first priority when it comes to medical care. In addition, children are not in a position to access full adult rights, leading to their dependence on adults for proper care. The barriers preventing children from care leads to increase in the rates of morbidity and mortality. The solution to this problem involves increasing the availability of child health resources and reducing the barriers that prevent access to care.
In a nutshell, the future of any country depends on the health of children. Healthy children mean a future healthy nation hence, greater economic development. Childrens health is affected by many factors including violence, infectious diseases, poverty, hunger, environment, education, and access to care. Violence has made children to lose lives and some becoming disable. Infectious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV/AID, diarrhea and malaria have killed a great number of children in the world. Poverty on the other hand deprives children their rights and weakens their protective environment. Hunger which entails inadequacy of goods and services continues to affect the children population in the world. Environment which is an important health issue of children that affects their physical and mental developments coupled with inability to access cost-effective health interventions.
Lewis, J. & Doshi, M. (2007). Global health: past, present and future. In Markle, W. H., Fisher, M., & Smego, R. A. (Eds), Understanding global health (pp. 61-85). The McGraw-Hill, Columbus, OH. Retrieved on 2nd February 2012 from: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/47566859/Understanding%20Global%20Health%20Chapter%204.pdf.
National Institute of Health. Child Health and Development. Retrieved on 2nd February 2012 from: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/
UNICEF. State of the Worlds Children. Retrieved on 2nd February 2012 from: http://www.unicef.org/sowc05/english/index.html
US Coalition for Child Survival. Working to improve newborn and Child health in developing nations. Retrieved on 2nd February 2012 from: http://www.child-survival.org/
World Health Organization (n.da). School and youth health. Retrieved on 2nd February 2012 from: http://www.who.int/school_youth_health/en/
World Health Organization,( ndb). Accidents/Injuries. Retrieved on 2nd February 2012 from: http://www.who.int/ceh/risks/cehinjuries2/en/index.html